Life-long earnings reduced to ashes

DUBAI — A week after the massive fire in Al Quoz that left eight people dead and seven missing, 184 shops at Naif Souq in Deira were reduced to ashes following a massive blaze in the early hours of yesterday.

By Amira Agarib And Riyasbabu (Our staff reporters)

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Published: Thu 3 Apr 2008, 9:04 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:45 PM

Several small traders said the fire had wiped off their entire savings and sources of livelihood.

M.H. Hamza, whose eight shops were gutted in the fire, said: “I have been running these shops for the past 35 years. I received a call from the watchman of my building informing me that a fire had erupted in the souq.

“I rushed to the spot and saw flames spreading to the shops in the vicinity. The police did not allow me to go near the fire site. All my shops are gutted and I lost all what I had saved in my 35 years of hard work.”

Pakistani national Liaqat who faced an estimated loss of around Dh350,000 after his shop was gutted said he had started the ready-made garments shop 25 years ago.

He noted that Naif Souq was a popular shopping centre for many people who looked for items at affordable prices.

“It was a fruitful business with a monthly turnover of Dh35,000. I have lost everything as my shop was not insured,” Liaqat said.

Abdul Raoof Manjue, owner of shop No. 31 who started his business 12 years ago, claimed that he had lost goods worth Dh100,000 in the fire.

Nassir Mohammed, owner of shop No. 239, said he started his shop selling abayas 25 years ago. He is ruing the loss of goods and money worth Dh200,000.

Several shop owners said besides goods and money, they also lost passports and other documents in the fire. Most shopowners said they had not insured their businesses. They feel they would never be able to recover from the huge losses.

Thick smoke

Mohammed Sadiq, a cafeteria worker, said he was returning home from work when he saw thick smoke emanating from the souq.

“The blaze had consumed several shops. I panicked first and then ran to the spot. Firefighters were using water to control the blaze, but they were finding it difficult to get closer to the fire site because of the narrow streets.”

Ravi Raj, a resident of Naif area, said: “I was sleeping when the fire broke out. A roommate of mine told me about the smell spreading in the area. We went to the balcony and saw the massive blaze. We rushed out of our building as we were afraid that the fire would spread to our apartment.”

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